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Quick Facts
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Mammalia
Order: Artiodactyla
Family: Cervidae
Genus: Alces
Species: alces

Height: 77 - 89 inches
Length: 77 - 108 inches
Weight: 700 - 1400 lbs
Gestation: 240 days
Offspring: 1
Life Span: 20 years
Top Speed (Ground): 35 mph

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Alces alces

The Moose is the largest member of the deer family. They are usually dark brown in coloration with long hair. They occasionally have a hairy pendant of skin hanging below their throat. A moose has large ears and a huge, pendulousWhat does pendulous mean? muzzle. They have long legs and visible humps above the shoulders. The most striking feature of the moose are the antlers (found only in the male moose.) Unlike reindeer antlers, the antlers of a moose are very broad and flat. The largest recorded antler spread was over 6 feet wide. On average, they are 4.5 feet. Moose are excellent swimmers. They can swim at speed up to 6 miles per hour.

Moose eat the twigs, roots, bark, and shoots of woody plants. In summer, they feed mostly on water plants such as the water lily and pondweed. During the winter they browse on conifersWhat does conifers mean? and eat their needle-like leaves. A moose needs 40+ pounds of food a day.

Moose usually live in forested areas in near arctic regions. They prefer to live near water and are well adapted to harsh winter conditions. They can be found in Asia, northern Europe, Canada, northwestern United States and Alaska.

The primary natural predatorsWhat does predators mean? of the moose are the wolf, the grizzly bear, and the black bear. They are also prized by human hunters for their antlers.

Moose are solitaryWhat does solitary mean? animals. The strongest bond between moose is that of a mother to her calf. Though solitary, moose populations tend to follow the same migratory trends. During breeding season, moose congregate together as they look for a mate. Occasionally, during deep winter, small herds will form and help pack down the snow so they can move around. Male moose, bulls, compete for females in elaborate shoving matches. Occasionally fatal wounds are received. In general, moose are not aggressive towards people. However, female moose are very protective of their calves and will charge if you get to close. Also, moose in general are very predictable and, while they usually do not charge humans, there is not guarantee that a moose will not.

Female moose generally give birth to a single calf(although twins are common when there is an adequate food supply.) At three weeks old a calf will follow its mother and browse for food. By 5 months, they are completely weanedWhat does weaned mean?. They will stay with their mother for about a year (until the next calf is born.) The father does not participate in raising its young.

Moose have poor eyesight. However, their sense of smell and hearing are excellent.

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